prime minister ‘overseeing affairs of state’
PAKISTANI prime minister Nawaz Sharif underwent open heart surgery in a London hospital on Tuesday (31), his second cardiac procedure in five years, his daughter Maryam said.
Sharif’s surgery comes as his government prepares to present its annual budget on Friday (3). It also remains under pressure over allegations of corruption linked to the so called Panama Papers.
“Surgery successful,” Maryam said on her Twitter account about four and-a-half hours after she said the operation had begun.
Earlier, she said her father “was in high spirits” as he was taken in for an operation for a “perforation of the heart”, a complication from a 2011 procedure.
Sharif, 66, has been accompanied to London by his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister of Punjab province, and several other family members and aides.
He has travelled to London for medical treatment several times over the past year.
On Monday, Sharif telephoned his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, thanking him for his wish- es for a quick recovery, the Pakistani Foreign Office said in a statement.
A senior Pakistani government official said, “It may take little over a week for the prime minister to recover and travel back to Pakistan.”
The official said Sharif was paying all expenses from his own pocket.
“In London, the prime minister is overseeing the affairs of the state as he is duly assisted by his principal secretary, military secretary and other staff members,” a statement issued by his office in Islamabad said last Saturday (28).
“The prime minister is kept abreast on routine matters of the country and his directions are accordingly conveyed to the concerned quarters.”
Sharif was in constant contact with his ministers with no delays in matters pertaining to the routine functioning of the state, the statement added.
Also on Monday, the Pakistani leader addressed an economic meeting, signing off on budget proposals that include a target of 5.7 per cent growth in the year beginning in July.
Pakistan missed its gross domestic product growth target of 5.5 per cent for the year ending in June, hitting only 4.7 per cent.
Sharif has been under pressure since the so called Panama Papers leak linked his family to a series of offshore companies. The prime minister insists his family has done “nothing wrong”, saying the claims had been investigated twice, decades ago, under the tenure former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. (Reuters, AFP)